October 24th, 2014
Rosie the Riveter

What is it that makes some schools and organizations so successful with their online presence? Is it having the right people at the wheel? Is it technology know-how? Do they have more time than the rest of us?

Well, to a certain extent, all of the above are correct. But there’s one thing that all these institutions and organizations have in common that we can tap into – and that’s commitment. They have each committed to having a robust online presence, and they have stuck with it. This is what sets them apart from those that just have the things above, and it’s what gives them their incredible staying power online.

Commitment is more than saying, “We want to be the best, and we’ll do anything to get there,” believe it or not. Commitment is about looking realistically at your resources and re-prioritizing them. It’s about having buy-in at all levels of the department, division, or institution. It’s about making online presence a job responsibility, not just a volunteer opportunity or another “duty as assigned.”

Commitment is taking online presence to the next level and making sure you have the staff and resources to do this. It is necessary to assign people to research new tools and media, to explore new design and content and to develop strategies for updating all of these things on a regular basis. It is more than wanting to have the latest, greatest, most popular thing. It is exploring whether that will work for that institution and then committing the time and resources to making it work.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve built a new website for an office that they love, that they can’t wait to implement, that they update for the next month. Six months later I look at the website, and it’s out of date. They think because the look is updated they don’t have to do anything else with it, they think that once that is done, they are done. No, online presence is an ongoing project, and guess what it takes, folks? It takes commitment.

So I fudged a bit above by saying that successful institutions and organizations have more time than the rest of us to do this. They don’t really have more time – the difference is that they make time to do these things. Online presence is a priority for these folks because they get that it is their institution’s front door – not just a side door to attend to when they think of it.

What is keeping your department, your division, or your institution from committing to your online presence?